The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program on Monday named Pierce College Fort Steilacoom to its list of the nation’s 120 best community colleges for its high standards for learning, college completion without delay, and serving as a training ground for jobs that pay competitive wages.
Pierce is one of only four colleges in Washington to be named to the prestigious list. The others are Spokane Falls, Spokane, and Walla Walla community colleges.
“Pierce College faculty and staff make an ongoing commitment to students and to delivering programs and services to help them succeed at the highest levels,” said Denise Yochum, president of Pierce College Fort Steilacoom. “Earning this recognition from the Aspen Institute validates the quality of people and programs we have here, as well as the motivation and hard work of our students, who truly value education. It’s an honor to be recognized on a national level for the work we do at Pierce College.”
The winners were presented Monday by Dr. Jill Biden, a professor at Northern Virginia Community College, and Arne Duncan, education secretary at the Aspen Institute in Washington, D.C.
Inclusion on the list makes Pierce College Fort Steilacoom eligible to compete for the $700,000 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, which was announced at the White House’s Community College Summit in October.
“The country is becoming increasingly aware of the importance of community colleges in educating our way to a stronger America. I am inspired by all of today’s community college students—the workers who have returned to school to improve their job prospects, the mothers who juggle jobs and childcare while preparing for new careers, and those who work diligently while at community college, preparing to transfer to a four-year institution,” said Biden.
Pierce College Fort Steilacoom is now eligible to submit an application containing detailed data that demonstrates that it delivers exceptional student results, uses data to drive decisions, and uses that information to continually improve over time.
Aspen will conduct site visits to each of the ten finalists in the fall. And, based on the evidence, the prize jury will select a grand prize winner and two to three runners-up, to be announced in December.
The full list of eligible institutions can be found at www.AspenCCPrize.org.